School-shooting suspect in talks for plea deal
Negotiations are under way for a possible plea deal for a teenager suspected of killing three students at a high school cafeteria, one of his attorneys said Friday.
Attorney Ian Friedman confirmed the negotiations but wouldn’t offer details about the discussions in the case of 18-year-old T.J. Lane.
Friedman said if a plea occurs, it could happen as early as Lane’s next court date Feb. 26, the day before the anniversary of the deadly shootings at Chardon High School, east of Cleveland.
Lane is charged with fatally shooting the three students and injuring others.
A judge has ordered psychiatric testing for Lane. Attorneys for both sides want the testing to determine if he is competent to stand trial.
Before the case went to adult court last year, a juvenile court judge ruled that Lane was mentally competent despite evidence he suffers from hallucinations, psychosis and fantasies.
Prosecutors say Lane fired 10 shots at a group of students in the cafeteria. He was at the school waiting for a bus to his alternative school.
Investigators say he admitted shooting at students but said he didn’t know why he did it.
Lane faces a maximum sentence of life in prison without parole if convicted. He isn’t eligible for the death penalty because he was 17 at the time of the shootings.
The school district plans to commemorate the anniversary of the Feb. 27 shootings with service projects and other events, including a memorial walk to the town square by students, staff members and first- responders.
One of the shooting survivors, 17-year-old Nate Mueller, says the tragedy has motivated him to lobby for gun safety, which he did during a recent trip to Washington. Mueller told WEWS-TV on Friday that surviving a bullet that grazed his ear prompted his involvement in the issue and that he feels it’s his duty.